What Makes a Leader?

Repost from http://mensteppingupblog.com/2014/03/18/what-makes-a-leader/

Check out this video and remember there are a lot of young men who don’t have exposure to leadership development thru scouting or other programs.
Donovan Campbell, author of The Leader’s Code, offers the following quote from Characteristics of a Leader, a FamilyLife Today radio broadcast:

DM-SN-88-08371“The statue is of William Leftwich. It is a statue of a man, with one arm pointed to his left—his rifle is in that arm—his body is clearly running in the direction of his outstretched rifle. His right arm is crooked; and it is beckoning those who, although unseen, are behind him. His head is pointed back at them. You can tell he’s yelling something. Below that statue, it says simply, “Follow me!”

“And that, I think, is a phenomenal picture of leadership. It is: “If you want to know where to go, watch me. Follow me because I will be doing what I ask you to do, and I will be leading the way toward a mission that is worthy of being accomplished.” This man, ultimately, died in Viet Nam because he went on every rescue mission for the Reconnaissance Marines that he sent out. One day, on the rescue mission of the men he commanded, his helicopter was shot down and he died. He was doing exactly what he asked his men to do. When he said, “Follow me!” they listened.”

Voddie Baucham had this to say about leadership (from Discovering Biblical Leadership – a FamilyLife Today radio broadcast):

“If you look in Ephesians, Chapter 5, and you look at the list of qualifications, really, for a husband—you look at this picture of what it means to be a Christ-like leader—basically, to lead a wife as Christ leads the church. You find that the picture is not just about a guy who pounds his chest and, “Me man; you woman—me speak; you do.” He’s to lead in love. He’s to lead in the Word. He’s to lead in righteousness. He’s to lead in selflessness, and he is to lead in intimacy.

“Most guys don’t understand servant-leadership from that perspective. So, it’s very important that when we talk about the way a husband is supposed to lead, we don’t just take the culture’s definition of leadership and superimpose that on the Scriptures. We have to get into the Word of God to determine what biblical leadership in the home looks like; and then look for an individual who understands that, as opposed to just the cultural norm.”

So how about you?  How would you characterize the essential elements of personal leadership?  Do you struggle with any of these elements?  (I know I’m always trying to reflect on ways to improve…)

Leadership certainly isn’t reserved for Trail Life meetings and Campouts or Backpacking Trips. It’s interwoven throughout our daily lives — how we talk with our spouse, encourage our children, engage our boss or our direct report employees, and even how we greet strangers.

Taking a vision for our lives — whether to “help other people at all times” or simply enough to “Walk Worthy” — and applying it is a great first step.  I think the rest of the trail is simply sticking to that vision, accepting feedback and incorporating personal growth into our day to day.

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Some common characteristics of a leader:

  • Vision – ability to see a “future situation” and work backwards to establish a plan to get to that desired outcome
  • Communication/Delegation – ability to share the vision with team-mates in a way that motivates them to contribute their individual skills to the attainment of the vision.
  • Organization – ability to identify needed resources and formulate a step-wise plan to attain the desired “future situation”
  • Commitment – consistent, urgent desire to attain the vision without wavering due to unexpected setbacks or unanticipated obstacles
  • Compassion for team-mates – a genuine concern for the welfare of those people who help the leader achieve the vision.  A leader invests in his/her team-mates so that they grow, but also steps back to let them exercise their delegated tasks using their individual (unique) strengths.  While a leader with no compassion can attain short term goals or complete projects quickly, they may lose their effective motivation of team-mates and their continued willingness to participate in attaining the shared vision.
  • Positive Attitude (cheerful) – ability to see obstacles and setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow.  Focuses team-mates on attaining the vision through celebrating the benefits of the final outcome and marking progress through attainable milestones along the way.

This is not an exhaustive list, but covers some points that most strong leaders would take advantage of to grow their teams and accomplish big plans.  How do these points affect your role at home, work, church, scouts, or other situations?

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